BY CLEMENT DU PLESSIS
EASTERN Province and the greater South African Amateur Athletic Board (SAAAB) fraternity mourn the loss of champion athlete Brian Jeggels.
(Main photo, from left: Johannes Brandt, Brian Jeggels and Peter Brockman at a recent athletics reunion in Pinelands, Cape Town).
The Jackal, as some Eastern Cape newspapers dubbed Jeggels, died suddenly in his hometown, Port Elizabeth, this afternoon at the age of 63.
He had cycled to a shop in Greenbushes where he collapsed and died.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon, and their three children son Jesse Owen, his daughters Lee and Cindy.
Jeggels represented Eastern Province while still a pupil at David Livingstone Junior Secondary School and won the SASSSA boys under 16 800m race at the Jubilee Park, Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape in 1971.
‘A thinker and true champion’
His school friend, Peter Brockman, who recently attended an athletics reunion with him in Pinelands, Cape Town, came second in the 800m race.
“Brian was a personal and trusted friend, a thinker and true champion of the plight of the poor and downtrodden. He will be sadly missed by his friends and family,” said Brockman.
The 1971 SASSSA champs included star athletes Terrence Smith, Herman Gibbs, Gareth Mclean, Shariefa Bardien, Moira Terhoven and Lynne Eagles.
The 1975 treble SAAAB track champion Wilfred Daniels said, “Brian was diminutive in stature but he had a big heart and, without being arrogant, had little respect for reputation and challenged the champions in major road races.”
Jeggels became a household name in the sport at school and later as a senior athlete with the Olympia Amateur Athletic Club in Port Elizabeth.
He excelled at distance racing in the 5000m and 10 000m on the track at the old Adcock stadium.
He later carved out a formidable reputation in road races and cross-country events.
Jeggels was the SAAAB marathon champion in 1978 when he won the race in a respectable time of 2 hours 32 minutes and 46,1 seconds. On the day he had beaten star attractions Nico Vermeulen, Christy Davids, Henry de Grass, and Bubs Lorgat.
He was also the SAAAB cross-country champion when the championships were held in Tongaat, Durban, in 1977.
Jeggels is also remembered for his duels with Western Province’s Johannes Brandt in all three disciplines of the sport: track, road and cross country.
The two champion athletes shared some wonderful memories at the reunion in Pinelands.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.